Whether you talk about Pabst, Leinenkugel's or Schlitz (the beer that made Milwaukee famous), beer is central to Wisconsin heritage and identity. So, it is fitting that local, craft breweries are popping up across the state.
Kathy Flanigan, a reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and for its TapMilwaukee.com, covers all things beer. And, she has parlayed that knowledge into an ambitious book called, Beer Lover’s Wisconsin: Best Breweries, Brewpubs and Beer Bars.
What makes a beer stand out to Flanigan is the quality, but also the feel of the brewpub. "There a few places you can go to and you just know they pay attention to you, or it feels comfortable and you can sit there all day," she explains. "And if they have great beer, you'll go back and back and back again."
With 150 breweries located throughout Wisconsin, and 40 operating in the Milwaukee area alone, it can be difficult to decide where to go and what to try.
Overwhelmed by all of this? Flanigan recommends a few Milwaukee area favorites:
909 East Locust Street, Milwaukee, WI
Try: Sproose Double IPA
"I love the Sproose - it's my go-to beer there, but I'll try anything they make."
2108 North Farwell Avenue, Milwaukee, WI
Try: Reward Double IPA & Motto Mosaic Pale Ale
"I like Reward, their double IPA. It's an award winner, but I will have Motto in my refrigerator often because it's an easy drinking pale ale and it tastes really good."
2244 West Bluemound Road, Suite E, Waukesha, WI
Try: Paradoc Red IPA & Black Walnut Belgian Imperial Stout
"Anything there is pretty good and it's pretty (alcohol) heavy. They lightened it up a little bit for their beer gardens in the summer, but they make a Paradocs. It won gold at the Great American Beer Festival last year - and it's really, really delicious. Their Black Walnut Belgian Imperial Stout is delicious too, and any of their specialty releases are really good."
1505 West St. Paul Avenue, Milwaukee, WI
Try: Unite the Clans Scottish-Style Rye Ale & Java Blanca Coffee Cream Ale
"I like all their beers, and they just won a gold at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver for their Unite the Clans Scottish-Style Rye Ale. They do a Java Blanca, a cream ale that tastes like coffee and they do this with Stone Creek coffee. You don't believe your looking at this sort of yellow-blonde beer and then you get a big hit of coffee and it's perfectly matched. It's really nice."
Kathy Flanigan will be at Sprecher Brewing this Saturday from noon to 2 pm to discuss beer and her work. Flanigan will also kick off Brew City MKE and the Milwaukee County Historical Society’s “Book & Brews” series the evening of November 16.